April 2016

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It’s All About the (Customer) Journey

There is a new marketing concept making its way through the retail industry. The words make sense, but often the meaning is unclear. What is a “customer journey” and how does it relate to the diamond industry, and, more importantly, to diamond retailers?

Before the advent of the customer journey, a retailer’s number one goal was to sell product. Today, with everyone talking about the customer journey, selling your diamond jewelry is still your number 1 priority. Yet the way you sell has changed. With the advent of the internet and e-commerce, consumers can buy jewelry in many more ways than before, and customers are no longer relegated to going to the mall or the local store to make their purchase. Therefore, it becomes ever more important to target the customer and create the need for them to come to you and go nowhere else. The customer journey is the way to do that.

Create an Experience

The question is, how do you create a unique customer journey that will help you increase and retain customers, as well as improve overall sales? An easy way to begin is to treat the customer as if they were a guest you have invited to your home. With a guest, you would spend time talking to them, interacting and getting to know them better. The customer is no different. The diamond buying experience is extremely personal to them. It is part of their story, one they have created and will tell to everyone they care about for years to come. They are not just coming to you to buy a product. They are coming to receive an experience. Therefore, you must get to know them, build a relationship with them, make them essentially fall in love with your diamonds and jewelry, and create a bond of trust that will make them want to come back to your store for their next jewelry purchase.

Becoming a part of their story is not always as easy as it may seem, but it’s also not as difficult. The trick is knowing your customer. The customer wants to receive. You, as their host, want to give. It’s a perfect match. The only thing standing between success and failure is the knowledge of what it is that your customer wants to receive. Education? An Experience? Information Gathering? Be creative, look at the experience from their prospective. Learn what they need and what they want, and this will help you work out what you need to do to increase your sales.

The beginning before the beginningThe Beginning

An important aspect to remember is that your customer’s journey does not begin the moment they walk into your shop. There are many ‘touchpoints’ or turning points in the customer
journey where hitting the correct fork in the road sends the customer in your direction, rather than the opposite. These touchpoints begin through marketing, over the phone, and word of mouth, before the customer ever walks through your door. So, how can you start the process off right, before you even see your customer? By knowing them. Who is your target audience? What age are they? What gender? At what point in their life? What are they looking for? Today’s generation is not like yesterday’s. Mobile, social media and the web have changed the face of customer behavior and expectation, and the industry needs to adapt. Imagine if the tourist industry was still trying to sell tickets to a vacation destination on a steamboat? Know your audience and you will be able to invest in the proper areas for attracting their service. This way, limited resources won’t be wasted. And most importantly, don’t be afraid of change. Build the journey, build the experience, build the relationship, and they will come.

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